Two Women Priests’ Homilies for the Good Shepherd( 4th) Sunday of Easter 5/11/14
Here we present Rev. Dr. Beverly Bingle’s Homily with thanks to her for sharing it and my own reflections and brief homily for this special Sunday for good shepherds and mothers.
This Sunday we listen for the voice of our Good Shepherd and we hear the voice of Mother God, even as we also celebrate the mothers and all of the women in our lives. In a sense this Sunday is the Feast Day of our Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community and it is very special that it is also Mother’s Day.
Unlike the male priests who are called “Father” we as women priests are not called “Mother”, but in our community that does not deter some of the members using that title in a very real sense. Nathaniel always calls me Mother, for example. He is now a 50 year old man whom we met as a homeless man in our outdoor worship services in the Park from 2007-2009. The brother of a local preacher whose beloved parents are deceased, he struggled with untreated mental illness and could simply not take hold of reality enough to negotiate work or housing. He simply slept outside anywhere he could. He was drawn to our worship. He is a man of faith and has a beautiful reading and singing voice. We helped him to connect to the mental health system, become housed in 2008, access a Social Security Disability income and reunite with his brother and family. His life is now completely changed and he attends our church regularly both on Sundays and for homeless outreach on Tuesdays. He enjoys leading the singing with his rich voice. We were particularly moved as he was Confirmed with our sixteen individuals on April 26th. Dressed in his navy blue Sunday Suit, his strong voice resonated as he read the reading from Isaiah 61: ” I have been anointed to preach good news to the poor…” And he does this with his life. When we offer the sign of peace, he always says “Peace be with you, Mother”. And I always reply: “Peace be with you, my son”. When he prays he always starts “Loving God,our Mother and Father God, I thank you for my church family”. So today we thank God for loving us like a mother hen spreading her wings around her chicks as Jesus wanted to do with his beloved people (Luke 13: 34 b) and for God, our Shepherd, and Christ as the Good Shepherd giving everything for the flock. We are thankful for our Mother God and for all mothers whose voices guide us and comfort us.
We present here our brief homily and that of Rev. Bev. Bingle, for she is right on that we are also now the shepherds to one another.
The Voice You Know: Homily for Fourth Sunday of Easter- May 11th 2014 Pastor Judy Lee
Prayer: Our Loving God, You are our Shepherd. Yours is the voice we know. And you have given us other guiding voices. On this special day for Mothers and all women thank you for the feminine voices that lead us on your path, including Your own. Grant that we may heed Your guidance and recognize it when we hear it. We ask this in the name of Jesus, our Brother Who lives with You and the Holy Spirit, One God forevermore. AMEN.
Liturgy of the Word Listen Now…
Acts 2:14,36-41 Be baptized then receive the gift of the Holy Spirit-3000 added
Psalm 23 R. Adonai, You are my Shepherd,I have no wants
I Peter 2:20-25 You were straying now you have returned to the Shepherd
Holy Ground Alleluia I am the Good Shepherd, I know my sheep and… John 10:1-10
Homily: Shepherds and mothers are a lot alike. It makes sense that we can celebrate both the Good Shepherd and our Mothers today. In fact Shepherds are like Mother God. The Gospel says: they know their sheep by name and the sheep know their voices. The first voice we respond to in our lives is our mother’s voice. We hear it in the womb and we know it always. I can hear my mother’s voice right now. I will never forget it. The voices of my mother and Grandmother and all of my shepherds will guide me until the end.
In Nigeria where almost 300 school girls were kidnapped by terrorists there is great mourning and prayer. “Bring back our girls” is the plea and the prayer now echoed around the world. Indeed we do pray for them. The faces of the mothers are in pain beyond description. One bereft mother said to the TV reporter: “Let them come and burn my house and take all I own. Let them even take me, but let them bring back my girl”. She would give her life for her daughter, she would do anything to find her. And this is what God through Christ did and always does for us. God continues to be both our Mother and Father God, and our Good Shepherd. Our Mother God’s voice, like the voice of that Nigerian Mom, and like the voice of the Shepherd calling the sheep will never stop calling us. And we know it, and hear it and get back on the path of life if we have lost it (as 1 Peter says). We have been baptized and are full of the Spirit which is the voice that guides us, comforts us, chastises us, loves us beyond all words, and leads us on. It is our Mother’s voice, let us heed it, serve one another, and be ever so thankful for it. Amen!
Rev. Dr. Judy Lee, Good Shepherd Co-Pastor
Rev. Dr. Beverly Bingle’s Homily-We Are Called To Be Good Shepherds like Jesus
In today‘s second reading from the first letter of Peter,
we are reminded that we are to follow in the footsteps of Jesus,
that is., do no wrong, speak no deceit,
do not return insults, do not threaten.
Mostly it’s what not to do.
John’s Gospel is much more positive about how to follow Jesus.
John gives us the extended metaphor of the good shepherd
as a picture of the life and mission of Jesus.
When we say we want to follow Jesus,
we commit ourselves to becoming good shepherds.
As the Second Vatican Council ended,
women religious around the world
entered into the process of discernment, reform, and renewal
that the documents called for.
The Sisters read the signs of the times
and went about doing good,
tending their flocks of school children
and hospital wards full of ailing people
and everyone in between.
Lots of examples out there:
Mother Teresa did it in Calcutta.
Dorothy Day in New York.
Nelson Mandela in South Africa.
The first responders on 9/11.
The shepherding goes on all the time,
in lots of different places and widely different shapes.
Monday I drove to Claver house as usual, my car stuffed
with your donations of food and clothes and bus tokens
and to-go containers and toiletries and puzzles.
Good shepherds you are,
tending the flock of folks on the margins in downtown Toledo.
Tuesday I wrote a $500 check and mailed it off
to help The University Church with their garden project
for the needy in their neighborhood
because you authorized the donation at last week’s meeting.
at our last Community meeting:
Good shepherds you are,
reaching out with a hand up
for a flock of hungry kids and their families.
Wednesday my car was broadsided
as I headed over to our book discussion,
and two of you phoned the next day
to check up on me and make sure I was okay.
Good shepherds, tending to me.
Life presents us with endless chances to be good shepherds.
Parents and grandparents do it–
the constant tending of the baby,
the nurturing of the teen,
the letting go as their offspring step into the world on their own.
On this Mothers’ Day
we’re especially conscious
of the many ways mothers “lay down their lives”
for their children.
Friends do it, too, over lunch or on the phone late at night,
listening, just being there.
Spouses, neighbors, teachers, even strangers at the Sav-A-Lot
lay down their lives for others.
Yes, we are called to be good shepherds, just like Jesus.
And it’s inspiring to see you answering the call.
Holy Spirit Catholic Community
at 3535 Executive Parkway (Unity of Toledo)
Saturdays at 4:30 p.m.
Sundays at 9 a.m.
Sundays at 5:30 p.m.
Rev. Dr. Bev Bingle, Pastor